From Orange High School
In response to a question about her minimal use of punctuation, Ali Cobby Eckermann says, ‘I thinks there’s a little rebel that still remains inside of me.’
Draw on the skills you have developed in the study of Module C, and Eckermann’s poetry, to craft the opening to an imaginative piece that breaks the traditional rules of writing. This could be in the form of punctuation, grammar, point of view, sentence structure, paragraphing, layout, character or concept. This will be written in class under timed conditions. It should be no more than one page in length and you will have 20 minutes to complete it.
There – you’ve just killed me. Happy with yourself, are you? You’re like the Grim Reader, you are.
Don’t you come the innocent with me. You know exactly what you’ve done. You picked up this book and applied your beady eye to the page, and the minute your interfering brain started banging out a meaning like a housewife cracking eggs into a baking bowl, that was it. I was brown bread. Gone for a Burton. The old clogs were popped. And they were popped because you swanned in, took over, and picked up where I left off, with the infernal business of meaning-making.
Oh, you don’t understand all my colloquialisms? Tough cheese, ducks. There’s nothing to understand, now that you’re the hoity-toity ‘locus of meaning’. I finished my job and was just having a breather among my pastiche of quotes when you came along and liberated my work from interpretative tyranny.
Don’t expect me to give thanks. I’m not giving you anything, not even my name. Call me Scriptor, if you want to call me anything.
There, you just read it. That’s another nail in my coffin.
But don’t worry – the whole recursiveness of transmission’ll get you in the end, just you wait. You’ll be telling a friend about the very experience you’re having now, with this very book, and not only will your friend be killing you stone dead simply by taking it all in as you talk, but they’ll be making something completely unintended from it. You’ll be trying to tell them about the rotten thing you did to old Scriptor – that’s to say me, the I (or eye) behind the text – and your friend will be looking at you, nodding away and thinking, ‘Well, this is a tale told by an idiot. All that sound and fury, and what does it signify? A rose, that’s what.’
And then they’ll be off in their turn, writing it up as a funny anecdote on Facebook, which is turned into a tweet, then an Insta, and memed God knows how often, and for each one there’s a dead author behind it, with their meaning tied around their neck, pulling them down, down, down, to the bottom where the historicists feed.
That’s Western literature for you; a trail of beautiful corpses. All I can say is that nothing good ever came out of France. Not that it matters. By the time you’ve read this France might have ceased to exist, just like me. In fact, maybe it never existed. There’s more evidence for my existence than there is of France’s – you’re not holding the afterglow of France in your hot little hands, are you?
But wait, wait, before you give this up as a silly game, just remember this: if the fact of you reading my work means that I’m dead, then me talking about you means that you’re dead too. I’ve taken a little part of you to the page-y grave with me. And the more I talk about you, to you, turn ‘you’ into a quotation which is woven into the text, the more you’re dismembered. This is the magic of reading – not just the transportation of the reader but the revenge of the author, who takes the reader with him.
With every word you read, you’re shortening your own li—
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